Kevin Rudd was asked in a television interview as to what is the relevance of the Obama and Xi Jinping talks. He spoke about security issues and the potential threat to US, Japan and Australia from a growing China. About China’s issues with Vietnam and the Philippines … North Asia.
He did not mention India anywhere!
There is an existing pact between US-Japan-Australia-India which China had objected to in the past. I believe these were more for anti-piracy operations in the Malacca straits and gaining support against China’s strength in the South China Sea.
The reasons have changed now. It is economic, anti-cyber attacks, and the fact that the leading trade partner will be a communist regime with the biggest and strongest army in the world. Having India as a partner, however mute, changes a couple of things. Providing greater security in the ASEAN and Indian Ocean Region which can be potentially a major trading partner region. The second reason is perhaps, encirclement. India’s position may have moved up a notch from being important (which cannot be denied because of its size) to being relevant (because of its ability to have a significant presence in the SE Asian and Indian Ocean Region). India has to work to get the SE Asian countries on her side in the face of China’s influence. ASEAN countries have been a region of peace for a long time after Vietnam and Cambodia, and the ASEAN is perhaps the oldest economic pact doing well. Compare this to other economic alliances and FTAs which have poor results.
As far as Australian politics go, Julia Gillard heralded two events of strategic interest to India; one is the opening of Uranium exports to India and the other, the establishment of a US military base on the Australian soil. Both these clearly irking China’s position over India. Kevin Rudd who is a back bencher Labour party member is also a former Prime Minister and has been a diplomat in China and is an accomplished speaker of Mandarin.
I wonder why he did not mention India?
Has India clearly become the Joker in the pack or is it a zero that can add and diminish values by its mute presence on either side of the equation?